Regret (September 16th)

Regret

One asked of regret,
  And I made a reply:
To have held the bird,
  And let it fly;
To have seen the star
  For a moment nigh,
And lost it
  Through a slothful eye;
To have plucked the flower
  And cast it by;
To have one only hope—
  To die.

–Richard Le Gallienne

(apologies to Richard Le Gallienne and Mrs. D.G.S.)

Sunshowers (September 16th)

sunny-rain
the rain is full of ghosts tonight

Had the day off from work, and I’m wondering now if it might’ve been a better idea to go in, just to keep my mind occupied from nine to five, if anything. Instead, I’ve spent this mostly grey day mired in melancholy, haunted by ghosts and watching the strange weather through my window as it shifted back and forth between ominous skies and sunshine. Showers came in fits and starts all day, often even when the sun shone.

There’s an old wives’ tale that claims if it’s raining while the sun is shining, it means the Devil is beating his wife. I made that comment off-hand once at work during a sunshower, and most of my officemates were appalled. Only the oldest person in the room, one of our retired volunteers, had ever heard that expression before– to everyone else, it was arcane. Standing at my kitchen window today, wistful and watching the sun shine through the trees while the rain fell, I remembered that old wives’ tale and I couldn’t help but think how fortunate the Devil is to still have a wife, and how he should probably be treating her better.

I was originally going to post the poem “Neutral Tones” by Thomas Hardy to commemorate my old anniversary, as it’s a perfectly greyish poem for this greyish day, but ironically enough, the tone of the poem wasn’t quite right. Instead, I’m going to share a sonnet from Edna St. Vincent Millay, as it’s much more beautiful and its sentiment seems more appropriate.

rain_whiterose1

What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why (Sonnet XLIII)

What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why,
I have forgotten, and what arms have lain
Under my head till morning; but the rain
Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh
Upon the glass and listen for reply,
And in my heart there stirs a quiet pain
For unremembered lads that not again
Will turn to me at midnight with a cry.
Thus in the winter stands the lonely tree,
Nor knows what birds have vanished one by one,
Yet knows its boughs more silent than before:
I cannot say what loves have come and gone,
I only know that summer sang in me
A little while, that in me sings no more.

-Edna St. Vincent Millay

(apologies to Ms. Millay and to Mrs. D.G.S.)

Silver Springs

Got some heartbreaking news through the grapevine the other day, and just felt like sharing one of my favorite performances of one of my favorite songs as I thought it was apropos.  I swear, I can’t make it through this tune without weeping like a damned fool.

So here’s a beautiful song for everyone who’s ever allowed themselves to lose the best thing that ever happened to them.

 

Silver Springs

You could be my silver spring,
Blue green colors flashing.
I would be your only dream–
Your shining autumn, ocean crashing…
And did you say she was pretty?
And did you say that she loves you?
Baby, I don’t wanna know.

I’ll begin not to love you,
Turn around, see me runnin’.
I’ll say I loved you years ago…
Tell myself you never loved me, no.
And did you say she was pretty?
And did you say that she loves you?
Baby, I don’t wanna know.
Oh, no…
And can you tell me, was it worth it?
Really, I don’t wanna know.

Time casts a spell on you, but you won’t forget me.
I know I could have loved you, but you would not let me.
I’ll follow you down ’til the sound of my voice will haunt you–
You’ll never get away from the sound of the woman that loves you.

I’ll follow you down ’til the sound of my voice will haunt you–
Was I such a fool?
You’ll never get away from the sound of the woman that loves you.
Was I such a fool?
I’ll follow you down ’til the sound of my voice will haunt you–
Give me just a chance…
You’ll never get away (never get away, never get away)
from the sound of the woman that loves you.

You could be my silver spring,
My blue green colors flashing.

Reason to Believe

Revisited this ol’ ditty tonight for reasons unknown to anyone (including myself) and must’ve listened to it seven or eight times before I realized that it’s way past my bed time.  Such a sad, sad song, but so sweet and sincere, too.   Arguably one of the best songs ever written, by Mr. Tim Hardin, but recorded and re-recorded by so many others.  The version I’m highlighting in this post is Johnny Cash’s rendition of the tune circa 1975.

Reason to Believe

If I listened long enough to you,
I’d find a way to believe that it’s all true.
Knowing that you lied straight-faced while I cried–
Still I look to find a reason to believe…

Someone like you makes it hard to live without
Somebody else.
Someone like you makes it easy to give,
Never thinkin’ of myself…

If I gave you time to change my mind,
I’d find a way to leave the past behind.
Knowing that you lied straight-faced while I cried–
Still I look to find a reason to believe…

If I listened long enough to you,
I’d find a way to believe that it’s all true.
Knowing that you lied straight-faced while I cried–
Still I look to find a reason to believe…

-Tim Hardin

For Auld Lang Syne

Well, it’s that time of year again.  Time to pop open a bottle of bubbly in the company of friends and sing “Auld Lang Syne” out of tune as we reflect on the highs and lows of the last twelve months– the triumphs and heartbreaks, the mistakes made, the dreams unrealized, and the loved ones lost.

auldlangsyne

New Year’s Eve may be a time of celebration for most, but certainly not for all.  There’s no doubt that 2015 was kinder to some of us than others, and it’s for those others that tonight is less of a celebration and more of an evaluation– it becomes a moment in time to take stock of our own personal failures from the prior year and determine what kind of mettle we’re made of and what sort of shape we’re in heading into the coming one.  Many of us will attempt to address our shortcomings from this year with resolutions for the next– optimistic ideals and aspirations which, if history is any indicator, will typically fade or fall apart after a few months (as best intentions are want to do).  But that’s exactly what’s so wonderful about the future– absolutely anything is possible, and there’s no harm in hoping for the best.

newyear

So kiss your sweethearts when the clock strikes twelve and count your blessings if you’ve got ’em.  As for me, I’ll do my best not to be too bitter about tonight and simply say “adios” to last year.  So fuck you, twenty-fifteen– you won’t be missed.  Don’t let the door hit your miserable ass on the way out.

 

 

Big Yellow Taxis (September 16th)

sinkingyellowtaxissunken yellow taxis (handiwork of Hurricane Sandy)

I’ve been humming the chorus to Joni Mitchell’s classic tune “Big Yellow Taxi” all week long now, so I guess it’s ironically fitting that I just happened to watch an episode of the early eighties sitcom Taxi containing a scene that proved to be at once both incredibly poignant and eerily timely to me:

 
When you’re a child, you tend to notice the good times over the bad in part because of your age. Your limited life experiences keep you from having enough of a framework in place to distinguish the good days from the truly bad.  When you look at a calendar as a child, it’s only the good dates you see– the birthdays and holidays and such.  But as you get older, you inevitably learn the feeling of regret, and there will eventually come a time when you realize that some dates on the calendar are harder to face than others.  Today marks one of those dates for me.

September sixteenth was once the happiest day of my life, and now it’s easily the saddest.  But as Joni Mitchell sang, “don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone?”   Yep, Joni, darlin’… I paved paradise to put up a parking lot.

“Big Yellow Taxi”

They paved paradise
and put up a parking lot–
with a pink hotel, a boutique,
and a swinging hot spot.
Don’t it always seem to go
that you don’t know what you’ve got
‘til it’s gone?
They paved paradise
and put up a parking lot.

They took all the trees
and put them in a tree museum.
Then they charged the people
a dollar and a half just to see ’em.
Don’t it always seem to go,
that you don’t know what you’ve got
‘til it’s gone?
They paved paradise
and put up a parking lot.

Hey farmer, farmer,
put away that DDT now.
Give me spots on my apples,
but leave me the birds and the bees, 
please!
Don’t it always seem to go
that you don’t know what you’ve got
‘til its gone?
They paved paradise
and put up a parking lot.

Late last night
I heard the screen door slam,
and a big yellow taxi
come and took away my old man.
Don’t it always seem to go
that you don’t know what you’ve got
‘til it’s gone?
They paved paradise
and put up a parking lot.

(apologies to Joni Mitchell and to D.G.)

The District Sleeps Alone Tonight

I’ve been a fan of The Postal Service since this album came out in 2003, but I never fully grasped this particular song until the last year or two, and I just felt like sharing.

Smeared black ink, your palms are sweaty
and I’m barely listening to last demands–
I’m staring at the asphalt wondering
what’s buried underneath…
(Where I am)

I’ll wear my badge– a vinyl sticker with big block letters
adherent to my chest that tells your new friends
I am a visitor here… I am not permanent.

And the only thing keeping me dry is… 
(Where I am)

You seem so out of context in this gaudy apartment complex,
a stranger with your door key explaining that I am just visiting,
and I am finally seeing why I was the one worth leaving…
why I was the one worth leaving…

D.C. sleeps alone tonight.

(Where I am)
You seem so out of context in this gaudy apartment complex,
a stranger with your door key explaining that I am just visiting–
I am finally seeing why I was the one worth leaving…
why I was the one worth leaving…

(Where I am)
The district sleeps alone tonight after the bars turn out their lights
and send the autos swerving into the loneliest evening–
and I am finally seeing why I was the one worth leaving…
why I was the one worth leaving…

(apologies to The Postal Service)